As part of the Digital America class she taught as an American studies special topic in the spring semester, Meghan Rosatelli and her students collaborated on a trial of a publication website bearing the same name as the course. The students focused on outlining a website with content tailored to readers of the digital age, especially millennials, that would be the foundation for Rosatelli's Digital America project.

After she gathered staff and contributors for the actual publication, Rosatelli and her team of University of Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth University students and staff published the first issue of Digital America on Monday. The first issue builds on the goal of the publication: to envelop aspects of all culture in the digital age and American life, particularly from the perspective of millennials, Rosatelli said.

"For example, we are publishing a Twitter narrative of Professor Maurantonio's 24-media blackout project, as well as working with other UR courses," Rosatelli said. "We have five columnists at the moment, including a UR undergraduate, Kenta Murakami, who will focus on art and pop culture."

Rosatelli said other writers were ready to submit columns for later issues, and that the group of columnists reflected the publication's diversity: a Richmond undergraduate, a VCU alumnus, a VCU doctor and graduate students from other schools. The columnists will publish about once per month but in waves, not all at once, she said.

The other sections are quarterly features and monthly process pieces. Features come from an open submission process and will be selected at editors' discretion, whereas process pieces will document the process of in-class creative projects, Rosatelli said. In the first issue, the features section includes an essay on digital death, a critical look at fashion blogging and the student-led creation of the journal's branding and web-design, she said.

Rosatelli said the publication processes were as important in students' and staff's development as the product of each issue.

"It is an exciting, unique opportunity for VCU and UR students to work together at both institutions," she said, "and for PhD, undergraduate and graduate students to work together."

One Richmond student who has worked with VCU students is senior Andrew Jones, the content editor. Jones was one of the six students in Rosatelli's Digital America class and wanted to make their trial journal a reality, he said. His role involves checking each story twice in the editing process, to ensure its style is correct and fits both colloquially and in the publication's focus on its millennial audience, he said.

Rosatelli is seeking greater involvement in the publication team from Richmond students in particular, whether on the staff side or the writing side, she said. As the publication grows, so will student involvement and its niche in both academic circles and publishing in the digital age, she said.

For more information, visit www.digitalamerica.org, or contact Rosatelli at info@digitalamerica.org.

Contact reporter Zak Kerr at zachary.kerr@richmond.edu

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